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Dr Maria Yakerson appointed Fellow and Tutor in Mathematics at St Peter’s College

1 November 2023

Maria Yakerson

St Peter’s College is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Maria Yakerson as Fellow and Tutor in Mathematics. Dr Yakerson also joins the University of Oxford’s Mathematical Institute as an Associate Professor. Her background is in motivic homotopy theory, which applies powerful methods of algebraic topology to shed light on algebraic geometry.

Dr Yakerson specialises in algebraic geometry and algebraic topology and will tutor St Peter’s students in Pure Mathematics. Beyond her teaching portfolio at St Peter’s College, she is passionate about making math and math careers accessible to young people. To this end, she manages a YouTube Channel, ‘Math-Life Balance’, which features interviews with professional mathematicians and a series of entertaining and accessible videos about abstract math.

Dr Yakerson grew up in St Petersburg in a family of historians and linguists. She notes that her pursuit of a career in mathematics went against the grain at the time: ‘Although my upbringing was all about the humanities, from an early age I was seduced by the abstraction of mathematics. I wanted to become a mathematician ever since middle school, but many people around me kept insisting that “math is not for women”. Luckily, my family has always supported me, and I have found support in the math community too!’

She studied mathematics at university and went on to complete a PhD at Duisburg-Essen University under the supervision of Marc Levine. From there, Dr Yakerson pursued postdoctoral research at Osnabrück, Regensburg and ETH Zürich, as well as doing research as a CNRS member at the Mathematics Institute of Jussieu-Paris Rive Gauche.

‘I love the beauty of abstraction,’ she says, ‘and how geometric intuition is justified by algebraic proofs in algebraic geometry.’

Dr Yakerson was awarded the SwissMAP Innovator Prize 2022 for her joint work on motivic homotopy theory and its connection to the Hilbert scheme of points of affine spaces.

Beyond her academic life, Dr Yakerson enjoys reading books, writing stories from everyday life, keeping in touch with her family’s 22-year-old tortoise, learning about psychology and travelling—especially to India.

You can read more about Dr Yakerson here.

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